Members of volunteer fire departments understand that every day there’s a chance of loss just due to the nature of the work. However, one local VFD is suffering after losing their chief and three former auxiliary members from COVID-19-related difficulties in the last month.
The New Florence Volunteer Fire Company Fire Chief Keith Boring, 56, a life member of the company who served 24 years as chief, died on Oct. 19. In addition, Amy Sapp, 39, whose husband Bernie is a volunteer firefighter at the station died on Oct. 24. Her sister, Bonnie McAdams, 47, and their 66-year-old mother Connie Payne, died Oct. 27 and 29, respectively.
According to his obituary, Boring worked as an auto mechanic and owned his own shop, K&M Auto in New Florence. He previously served as an EMT for West End and Laurel Valley ambulance services and was president of the New Florence VFW, a member of the St. Clair Tremont Club and The Russian Club. He enjoyed camping and riding his motorcycle.
He is survived by his wife Melissa and children, Keith Jr., Andru and Ryan.
On Facebook, the VFD posted this tribute: “Today a dark shadow falls over the fire company as our longtime Fire Chief Keith W. Boring lost the battle with COVID-19. We are in a state of disbelief and shock. As much as this has rocked us, please keep Keith’s family in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve their incredible loss of husband, father and grandfather.”
Firefighters held candlelit vigil outside the station after Boring’s death.
Sapp was a member of the auxiliary, which is now disbanded, for 15 years. She also worked as a substitute custodian at United High School, according to her obituary.
In addition to her husband of 13 years, Bernie, she is survived by three daughters, ages 9, 11 and 12.
Shortly after Sapp’s death, a GoFundMe page was started by Brandon Teeter, president of the VFD, to raise money for her family going into the holiday season. So far, $4,800 was raised out of a $10,000 goal.
According to the page, Teeter started the campaign to help cover any miscellaneous expenses as well as on going medical expenses for Sapp’s oldest daughter who has cystic fibrosis.
McAdams and Payne served on the fire company’s auxiliary for about 14 years. McAdams also worked as a home care giver.
The coronavirus cases were isolated among the families, and there are no cases among the company’s 30 active members. The station is answering calls as normal.